Lantern Floating and the Great Fireworks Display are the features of a special event on 16 August on the Matsubara Coast in Matsushima-cho, Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.
These festivities began in 1950 (Showa 25) during the Bon Festival season of the lunar calendar, and were held to appease the spirits of those who had died in the war.
Various fireworks, such as water fireworks and 'star-mines' are set off against the scenic backdrop of Kehi-no-Matsubara. The Great Fireworks Display is the largest-class of fireworks display held along the Sea of Japan coast. 12,000 fireworks are set off in a dynamic show.
At the same time as the fireworks, 6,000 red, blue, and yellow lanterns are set afloat from the Matsubara Coast, while sutras are chanted by monks.
In recent years, lasers and sound systems have been added as massive settings and configurations to the festival. The pyrotechnics begin with bottle rockets and finish with special character fireworks and other elaborate fireworks.
Lantern Floating and the Great Fireworks Display create a harmony between water, light and sound. It is a solemn, even mystic, event.
The Sanuki Takamatsu Festival, held in Takamatsu, is the representative festival of Kagawa Prefecture, and one of Shikoku's 4 major festivals.
This festival is the most popular in Takamatsu, and features a dance known as Sou-Odori as its main event. In Sou-Odori, 4000 people participate in the Takamatsu Dance and the Sanuki Dance in Chuo Park.
Festivities are further enlivened by local performing arts, parades, and Udon noodle-eating contests known as the Udon-lympics!
The climax of this festival is one of the largest fireworks displays in Western Japan. 5,000 fireworks are set off, filling the night sky with colorful sparkling lights.
The Sanuki Takamatsu Festival is a big event filled with festive fun.
The Otaru Ushio Festival was inititated in 1967 (Showa 42) in the hope of preserving the history, culture and further development of Otaru, Hokkaido.
The festival is held aroud Otaru Bay for three days on the last weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) of July. More than a million people from Hokkaido and from outside visit the festival at this time. Ushio chochin lanterns featuring wave patterns are displayed throughout Otaru and the city fills with excitement as the festival begins.
On the second day of the festival, 5,000 dancers from Hokkaido and outside Hokkaido participate in the Ushio-nerikomi parade. The dancers move in time with the rhythm of the Ushio-Ondo, and the parade stirs up more festival excitement.
Meanwhile, various events are held elsewhere in the city, such as the local Ushio taiko drums perfomance. The drums create a rich and enjoyable rhythm. The final day of the festival features a display of 2,500 fireworks set off into the beautiful night sky of the Otaru Bay, marking a spectacular culmination to the festival.
This festival shows a local appreciation of the sea and Otaru's hope for the city's continued development. The afterglow of festival excitement does not disappear for a long time
The Ere-kotcha Miyazaki festival started in 2002 and is a revival of the Miyazaki Furusato festival that was first held in 1984 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Miyazaki City. It is a new type of festival, blending traditional Bon dancing with modern-style dancing.
The festival is held on the last two days of July. There are two main events. One is the 'citizen's dance', a large-scale dance with 10,000 people dancing to local folk music. The other event is the dance contest, Ere-kochya Miyazaki, held in downtown Miyazaki. This contest involves various groups and teams of dancers, and performers from all over Kyushu, who express the hot summer through their bodies.
'Ere-kotcha' means 'a great matter' in the dialect of Miyazaki. And indeed, the festival is filled with great excitement.
Other attractions of this festival include the 'Taiko-mai', a performance by taiko drum groups from around the prefecture, and the 'Kitchen Garden', where the rich ingredients of Miyazaki can be met. These various events and performances wonderfully represent the spirit of the festival.
Walking on stilts was an activity that began in China. It came to Japan during the Heian period.
Stilt-walking is a game that uses sticks of bamboo with some kind of peg as foothold. There are two types of stilt-walking. The first one, which was enjoyed by children in China, was a game using one bamboo like a witch's broom. The other type is the famous one, which is enjoyed by Japanese children.
Even today, children enjoy the common form of stilt-walking, using two sticks with footholds. It is said that stilt-walking is good for training muscles and to get a sense of balance.
Nowadays, there are stilt-walking competitions held as sports, and the activity is beloved by many people.
Ryumon Waterfall is located near Ryumonji Temple in Kokonoe, Kusu County, Oita Prefecture. It is 20m tall and 40m wide.
The water of Ryumon Waterfall falls in two stages with a basin in the middle. In summer, many people come to play in the water and slide down the fall on the smooth rocks.
In the Kamakura period, the Chinese monk Rankei Doryu was officially invited to Japan and visited here. He felt that the waterfall was similar to Ryumon Waterfall in Kanan and named it Ryumon. Moreover, he founded a temple and named it Mt Kichijo Ryumonji Temple.
According to legend, a huge snake lives in the waterfall and during thunderstorm appears and winds itself around the Niomon gateway of Taiheiji Temple.
Nearby are the Ryumon Hot Springs.
The symmetry of the waterfall is especially beautiful and the area is a well-known site for viewing fall scenery. Ryumon Waterfall is a popular playground for children as well as a beauty spot.